Sarah K. diFrancesca

Experience

Counseled a Pharmaceutical Company on Compliance Program Development and Implementation

Client: A Pharmaceutical Company

Advised a clinical-stage pharmaceutical company regarding its transition to commercial stage, including the development and implementation of a corporate compliance program. This included training company executives on compliance and regulatory matters, drafting and reviewing compliance policies and procedures, reviewing promotional materials, advising on implementation of a transparency tracking/reporting program consistent with federal and state laws, and advising on compliance and regulatory matters. 

Internal Investigation Conducted on Behalf of Pharmaceutical Company

Client: A Pharmaceutical Company

Conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a commercial pharmaceutical company arising from an employee whistleblower complaint. Allegations included inappropriate promotional activities, false claims, HIPAA violations, and kickbacks. The investigation included interviewing multiple employees, reviewing relevant documents, and preparing a findings memorandum with corrective action recommendations.  

Conducted a Compliance Review and Assessment of a Biotechnology Company’s Corporate Compliance Program

Client: A Biotechnology Company

Assessed the implementation and effectiveness of a biotechnology company’s corporate compliance program, including review of company policies, procedures, guidelines, training materials, risk assessment processes, internal investigation reporting mechanisms and follow-up, and auditing and monitoring activities. Also made recommendations for enhancing the program and assisted with implementation of such recommendations.

Defense of Clinical Laboratory in False Claims Act Investigation

Client: Clinical Laboratory

Defended a clinical laboratory in civil and criminal investigations by the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, Office of Inspector General, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the California Department of Insurance related to inappropriate sales and marketing activities, phlebotomy payments, and other kickbacks. Civil and criminal investigators declined to intervene in the matter against the company. 

Internal Investigation Conducted on Behalf of Medical Device Company

Client: A Medical Device Company

Conducted an internal investigation on behalf of a medical device company arising from two employee whistleblower complaints alleging health regulatory and compliance violations. Allegations included pre-approval promotion, inappropriate promotional activities, and a detrimental lack of a corporate compliance program. The investigation included interviewing multiple employees, reviewing relevant documents, preparing a findings memorandum with corrective action recommendations, and assisting the company in implementing several corrective action recommendations. 

Represented Electronic Health Records Company During Health Care Fraud Investigation

Client: Electronic Health Records Company

Represented an electronic health records and billing vendor in a government investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania related to false claims submitted by and on behalf of a client health care professional. The matter was successfully resolved for the client.

Defense of Pharmaceutical Company in False Claims Act Lawsuit

Client: Pharmaceutical Company in False Claims Act Lawsuit

Defended a global pharmaceutical company in a False Claims Act investigation involving five qui tam complaints related to the sales, marketing, and promotional activities for several drugs in the company’s product portfolio. Criminal and civil investigators from multiple federal agencies were involved in the investigation, including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Veterans Administration (VA), and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The matter included document collection from more than 1,800 employees, witness interviews, and presentations to investigators. I negotiated a civil settlement agreement with the Department of Justice, settlement agreement and release with the lead qui tam relator, civil settlement agreements with the National Medicaid Fraud Control Unit team and individual states, and a corporate integrity agreement (CIA) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Conducts Internal Investigations Relating to Potential Health Care Fraud and Business Conduct for Clients

Conducts internal investigations relating to potential health care fraud and other business conduct for clients across the health care spectrum, including a large health insurer, national long-term care and other providers, hospitals, physician practices, ambulance providers, therapy services providers, community mental health providers, DME suppliers, pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, laboratories, and others.

Represented Medical Device Company in Connection with Internal Investigation and Self-Disclosure to Government Regulators

Client: A Medical Device Company

Conducted an internal investigation for a medical device manufacturer of a compliance matter reported to the company and its board of directors. Further represented the company in a self-disclosure of the matter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG).

Represented Skilled Nursing Facility in False Claims Act Investigation

Client: A Skilled Nursing Facility

I defended a skilled nursing facility and its parent company in a False Claims Act matter alleging the submission of false claims for rehabilitation therapy provided by the facility’s contracted rehabilitation therapy provider. Representation included the negotiation of a civil settlement agreement with the Department of Justice. No corporate integrity agreement was required by the Office of Inspector General.

Represented Global Pharmaceutical Manufacturer During Health Care Fraud Investigation

Client: A Pharmaceutical Manufacturer

Defended a foreign-based global pharmaceutical manufacturer in a multi-jurisdiction (federal and state) government investigation of sales, marketing, and research activities. Client was dismissed from the False Claims Act qui tam action, and intervention proceeded against their co-promote partner only.